Mysterious Death of Henry Stuart – Lord Darnley
The mysterious death of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley has perplexed Scottish history researchers till date. Darnley belonged to a family which gave him claims to the Scottish as well as English thrones through family bonds with James II of Scotland and Henry VII of England.
When Darnley was young, he enjoyed his childhood which was bestowed to the few privileged during the 16th century. At the age of 20, in February of 1565, he had travelled to Scotland and had the opportunity of meeting QueenMary who was besotted with him. According to one chronicler it is said that `she took well with him and said that he was the lustiest and best proportioned long man that she had seen’. They were married that July and Darnley became King of the Scots.
Very soon it became obvious that he could not handle himself royally and became foes due to his bad temper, drunkenness and arrogant manner. Mary herself got tired of his company and the couple were often separated though they seemed to get along well to have a son, James who later would rule Scotland as well as England. Their unsteady marriage seemed to continue since Mary was a Roman Catholic and divorce was not permitted. She may have resorted to an alternative solution.
Huge Explosion at Kirk o’Field
The couple had been staying at Kirk o’Field a large church house in Edinburgh in February 1567 when in the early hours of the 10th were heard two huge explosions that were heard for miles around the place. The Kirk had been almost destroyed.
Later on it had been determined that two barrels of gunpowder had been placed secretly beneath the bedroom of Darnley, where he had been recovering from smallpox, which according to other sources was syphilis.Many had come over to witness the devastation. However, the body of Darnley was not traceable and after some superficial searching by the people, a soldier had located the remains of Darnley together with a servant on the grounds of the Kirk.
On examination, it had been obvious that the death wounds inflicted on Darnley and his servant had not been from the explosion. It seemed that the two of them had been strangled after the gunpowder had done its task. Suspicion increased and the noble families of Scotland needed answers to their queries.
Death of Darnley Remained a Mystery
Mary who had been living at the Kirk with Darnley was not there or could have been away at a wedding on that critical night. However the facts could not be overlooked. Someone had placed the gunpowder under Darnley’s room which had exploded thereafter.
Darnley perhaps had learned of the danger and had fled into the nightwith only his nightshirt on, where his body had been found. It was observed that someone had overpowered and strangled him to death. Those guilty could have been from the Scottish nobles, probably with the Queen being party to the murder who disapproved of the power Darnley exercised or maybe disliked him.
Mary too had her own problems when she escaped to England only to be imprisoned and ultimately executed in 1587 by Elizabeth I and whatever information she had regarding the death of her husband went down with her in the grave.